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P.C.P.D. November 2016

Penn Charter Professional Development

November 2016

Published monthly by William Penn Charter School in the interest of our faculty and staff.


News to Know


Thought & Practice: Where Vision and Possibility Meet

Follow this link to read the latest posts on Penn Charter's education blog. The most recent pieces discuss the origins of worship sharing as a Quaker practice and a field trip to West Philadelphia by the upper school American Studies class.



David Brightbill has been named Teacher of the Year by the PASE (Philadelphia Area Spanish Educators) organization.

On Oct. 15, Ed Marks gave a presentation on his Modern China course to a group of local high school educators at the University of Pennsylvania. The presentation was part of a Conference on Contemporary China sponsored by the NCTA (National Consortium for Teaching of Asia).

Michael Roche animated the short film, “When the Family Came to Dinner.” The film recently started the festival circuit at the Black Bear Film Festival in Milford, Pa., on Oct. 15.

Congratulations and special thanks to the many PC colleagues who shared their expertise by teaching workshops and/or mentoring at the Teaching & Learning Center during October: Jessica Bender, Kevin Berkoff, David Brightbill, Tim Clarke, Jill Einbender, Julian Guindon, Judith Hill, Corey Kilbane, Rachel Malhotra, Sara Moses, Michael Moulton, Eva Kay Noone, Pam Shannon, Lisa Turner and Doug Uhlmann.

Jim Fiorile and Teodora Nedialkova welcomed a son, Antonio, on Oct. 23.

News and Notes

Congratulations to Sonia Duprez and Laura Valdmanis for getting belay certification on our climbing wall! If you are interested in getting certification, please contact Tom Rickards.

On Oct. 17, Jen Ketler participated in the workshop “Facilitating Friends Decision-Making in a Friends School,” which is sponsored by the Friends Council on Education.

Maria Odilia Romeu is participating in a five-week training with the Green City Teachers Basic Training. It is a program sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society that advocates environmental education by creating and supporting outdoor gardens and the greening of the indoors.

Penn Charter students, accompanied by Sharon Ahram, attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Diversity Conference at Abington Friends on Oct. 29 and the ADL conference on Nov. 3. Afterwards, each group will be doing a presentation/workshop for faculty through the TLC. 


Faculty and Staff Announcements

The Laramie Project
Tickets for the Upper School fall play, The Laramie Project, are available. The Laramie Project was written in response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, who was kidnapped, severely beaten and left to die tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo. The play was based on the more than 200 interviews conducted with people in the town, and it dramatized what later became one of the better-known gay hate crimes of our time. Eighteen years later, it remains relevant and poignant as we struggle to understand hate and hate crimes today. Award-winning and thought-provoking, this play hopes to change the minds and lives of all who see it. It is rated PG-13 for adult language and content.

Shows are Friday, Nov. 18 at 7:30pm and Saturday, Nov. 19 at 2:30pm. There will be a post-show talk-back session with original cast member and head writer Leigh Fondakowski following the Saturday matinee. Faculty are entitled to one comp ticket with the code FACULTY. Additional tickets are $8; $6 for students. Tickets can be purchsed online or in the school store.  

Summer Reading – Leave a Book, Take a Book!
On the in-service day on Nov. 22, bring in any old faculty summer reading book that you no longer need to keep. There will be a table set up in Gummere Library where you can leave it for a colleague to read and then pick up a title that's new to you.


Welcome to New Faces

Luke Madson is teaching Middle School Latin while James Fiorile is on paternity leave.


Green Corner
by Tom Rickards

If you are interested in getting outdoors after school, please let me know as our faculty hikes are in need of new energy! Just a reminder that the PC Hikes team is still open for sign ups! We have reached 21 percent of our fundraising goal and the challenge ends in November. Let’s do this!

Writing Instruments
Don’t throw out those dried up Expo markers! We are looking to “upcycle” all those markers, mechanical pencils, pens, dry erase markers, highlighters and all caps! There is a Terracycle bin for all writing instruments in the lobby of each division or you can drop them off on my desk in room 135.

Did You Know?

It takes about 450 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose?! Recycling is a better option (which we don’t do a great job of here at school), but also not a sustainable alternative. It might be time for Penn Charter to join the growing number of schools and universities that have banned the bottle. Look for more information, but let me know if you want to join this movement. Anyone that would like to be part of an ongoing environmental committee, please email me at



It’s not too early to start planning for your ideal VITAL summer project! For those of you unfamiliar with VITAL, VITAL (Valuing Innovative Teaching and Learning) is an exciting professional development model that provides teachers time during the summer for the transformation of their craft through research, collaboration and innovation. Projects, lasting one to four weeks, are funded at median faculty salary. There will be a drop-in information session about VITAL and the application process during lunch and after school on Wednesday, Nov. 16. If November 16 isn’t a good time to meet, feel free to schedule an appointment with Ruth Aichenbaum using this link. You can also learn more about VITAL and past, funded projects by visiting this page on the TLC Google Site. The application form and the rubric that the VITAL Selection Committee uses to review applications are also available on this page.  


Notes From the TLC

by Ruth Aichenbaum

You can sign up for the many upcoming learning opportunities using the TLC SignUp Genius Link. In November sessions will be offered about


  • Meaningful Portfolio Use
  • Discussing Positive Classroom Management
  • Learning from Students’ Work
  • Campus Learning Gardens Tour: Learn Where Students Are Growing Things on Campus
  • Affinity Group to Discuss Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools by Ron Ritchhart
  • How to Survive and Thrive at US Parent Conferences
  • Facilitating Rich Discussions
  • One-to-One Library Research Skills Help
  • Reading Benchmark Workshops
  • Jennifer Serravallo Reading Assessment
  • Learn about VITAL
  • Talking Teaching Sessions at Philadelphia University

Understanding Students ... Our School... Ourselves... and the World

  • Student Reflections from the Mid-Atlantic Diversity Conference
  • Student Reflections from the ADL conference
  • Learn More about Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Difficult Parents: Strategies to Build Positive Relationships
  • Balancing the Role of PC Parent and Teacher

Technology and the Arts

  • Learn to Play the Ukulele
  • Learn the Basics of
  • Tech Assisted Teaching – Philadelphia University Session
  • One-to-One Mac Help
  • Using Pear Deck To Make PPT Presentations Interactive
  • Building a Simple Box Ukulele


  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Swim Some Laps at Lunch and Morning Swim
  • Rock Climbing and Belay Training
  • Zumba

We are launching  a number of different affinity/ learning groups, including:

  • Affinity Group to Discuss Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools by Ron Ritchhart

  • Portfolio Group

  • Learning from Examining Student Work

  • Instructional Rounds

Please let me know if you’re interested in any of these groups, or if there are other types of affinity/learning groups that you’d like to create.

Once again, here is the link to sign up for a TLC workshop. If there’s a session you’d like to attend, but the timing doesn’t work, please email me (, and I can set up a one-to-one session.

As always, I am happy to meet with you to discuss specific workshops that you’d like to attend or teach. I’m also available to facilitate a Critical Friends Group, to arrange a classroom visit and/or arrange a one-to-one session with a mentor on a topic of your choice. You can schedule an appointment on the front page of our TLC website. While you’re on the TLC website, I invite you to explore its many online resources including our monthly Spotlight articles. Hope to see you at the TLC!


Professional Development News

Visit the MCRC@ADVIS website for information about more upcoming programs.

Click here for more information on upcoming professional development opportunities. Please remember to fill out the Request for Professional Development Funds Form and attach it to your registration.

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What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it's grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.

—John Lewis









Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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